Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013 in Photos

As I wrote about in my last post 2013 was not my favorite year. Looking back is still fun and while the day to day was a little stressful there were some big sparkly moments that were great and I am sure in a few years I will remember the big highs more than anything else. So here's a look back at 2013:

January started out with our traditional News Year Day Hungover Half (my families self run half marathon, so fun)
And a trip to Miami to run the ING Miami half marathon
February was pretty mellow with lots of training on snowy trails and time on the trainer
March took us to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate 10 years of being together.
cabo Beach.jpg
As a happy accident Ironman Los Cabos was running while we were there and we got to watch the race, probably my favorite part of our vacation.
In April we took our first long training weekend in Moab and had a blast!
May was running our second open marathon togetherDSCN8128.JPG
And had me headed to Baja Mexico for work
June was fun and exciting with lots of training, my mom's first triathlon and a half ironman for me.

July started with a trip to the Oregon Coast, one of my favorite places in the world.

and finished with lots of climbing mountains
In August we raced Ironman Boulder 70.3 to PRs for both Cory and me
Then Dad and Cory took third overall for relays at Boulder Sunset triathlon. They took third even through dad did the bike AND run! I was so proud. Mom took first in her age group but I didn't get a photo =(
September was a great month, Cory took 8th overall and first in his age group at the Denver Trail Half Marathon
Then we all headed to Lake Tahoe for my second Ironman, while it was difficult I am proud that I finished!
October was pretty low key running lots of trails, one half marathon and a work trip to Ohio
November came and went quickly ending with our traditional family Turkey Trot
December didn't have any racing for me, but lots of food, family and fun.
We end the year on an upswing with a new job for Cory and putting our house on the market to move north. Packing isn't my favorite but I am so excited to get into a new house, new city, new start.

Happy New Year everyone, have a safe fun night!

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Well hello! Its been quite around here with my focus on Christmas, family and other life changes, but we will get to all of that. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season celebrating with their families. I Had a wonderful Christmas that left my little heart bursting with joy and love.

Christmas pups.JPG

I will admit that 2013 hasn't been the easiest year for me . Nothing tragic or unmanageable, just more stressful than past years so I won't shed a tear to see it go and start fresh in a week. I also have had a few significant changes in the last couple weeks, it feels like a great transition to 2014.

I haven't really talked about it here to respect my husbands privacy but he is the most open and honest person I know so it wasn't really necessary. Cory was laid off from the company he was with for over seven years in May and diligently searched for a job for over seven months, about two weeks ago he finally heard that he got a job that he really wanted, it was the best Christmas gift we could have asked for.

After Cory started his new job with a hellish commute to Boulder we finally decided to put our Denver house on the market so we could move out of the city. We still love our little 1928 tudor house but finally agreed that it was worth it to move to make commuting easier for Cory as well as having some more modern luxuries (AC, decent closets, master bathroom, storage, etc). The biggest reason we would like to move is lifestyle, we really like to ride our bikes out the door of our home and run on trails. This is hard to do in the heart of Denver so we are looking to move closer to Boulder back roads with great trails. I am very excited about this change but getting our house on the market and selling it will take some work. Showing a home with three dogs and a crazy schedule would just not work so we will be moving out in a week and a half.

Another big change for 2014 will be a new coach for me. I really love my former coach and will still work with him in group workouts but I missed the boat to individually train with him again this year. I gave up the expense of a coach after Ironman Lake Tahoe, but after Cory found a job and a lackluster fall of self coaching I was in the market for a coach again. Not surprisingly a lot of coaches in Colorado are full up with it being so late and so many local athletes signed up for IM Boulder. So I researched and thought a lot about my options and I think I have found the perfect fit. I am very excited and think this change will be really great for me, sometimes a change is just what I need to push me out of my comfort zone. I will let you in on who my new coach will be after we sign all the docs and get going but I am ecstatic to get to work with her.

A lot of new things coming in the next month or so, new schedule, new coach, new commute, new home, new gym, new neighborhood, the list goes on. So 2013 will end on an upswing that will hopefully propel us into a wonderful 2014.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying some time off!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gift Ideas for Runners

Gift Ideas for Runners

1. Lululemon Speed Tight *cozy - I resisted buying Lulu for a long time, it seemed ridiculously expensive. That went out the window when I finally got some shorts as a gift and I realized how much more comfortable Lulu is than other brands. I even ran Tahoe's marathon in Lululemon Capri's, they were amazing with no chafing, love them! These tights are lined and perfect for winter, I wear them all the time.

2. Smart Wool gloves that have touch screen capabilities that are great for Garmin operation as well as instagramming your favorite trail

3. Petzl Headlamp great for evening runs when there is little daylight, or if you have an ultra runner on your list the NAO is supposed to be amazing.

4. A foam roller can be the difference between a PR and an injury, I have had my trigger point roller for years and it hasn't broken down at all. Now if I could get someone to do the rolling for me.....

5. A Garmin 910XT is a great watch for any triathlete or runner, I have the 410 and it's great but even with a full charge it has died on me, the 910 offers more battery power.

6. Everyone needs to hydrate on runs, even in the winter, this Nathan Hydration Vest makes it easy.

7. Give your favorite runner a nice way to display all the race bling!

What's on your list?

Training For a Hot Race in Winter - Four Months To Go

In (a little less than) Four short months I will be toeing the line at Ironman Los Cabos. It doesn't feel real yet, it's NEXT year, it will be warm, it's a triathlon, and it's clearly not triathlon season in Colorado (hello lowof -8).


But 4 months is not a lot of time and will go by quickly, I need to keep my focus and eyes on the prize. I try to think about warm(isn)aqua ocean water, palm tress and margaritas.


My training plan is very similar to my last two ironmans, I am just hoping that I won't have to spend too much time on the trainer and treadmill (I will run in snow but ice is another thing). The new things I hope to start incorporating some heat training. I have done a little research on how to train for a race in warm conditions over winter. Starting in January I will start:

  • Going to hot yoga to get my body used to moving in the heat

  • sitting in the sauna after swims for increasing amounts of time.

  • No fan or open windows while on the trainer

  • Overdressing for runs

Other than that I think I will just have to gut it out. Regardless, I am excited to head to mexico to race towards the end of a long, cold winter.

Have any additional tips? Have you ever races in the heat after training in the cold?

I haven't really but I did train in the heat to race in the ridged cold in Tahoe, I guess that doesn't hep me here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gift Ideas for Cyclists

In honor of Black Friday I thought I would post my second Wish List for Athletes, you can find the first here. I didn't venture out shopping myself today, too scary. I took down all my fall decorations, put out Christmas and put up a tree. The house smells amazing and now I can spend the weekend swim bike running with my chores being done.

Onto my list of fun items for cyclists:
Gift Ideas for Cyclists

1. Speed Fill makes drinking a breeze and keeps that expensive bike aero

2. A fun little bike ornament for your cycling enthusiast office mate

3. Zoot Knickers for those cold weather cycling adventures, so comfortable and keep your legs and bum nice and toasty

4. Bonk Breakers are a great snack while riding

5, This Cervelo P5 is for the athlete on your list who has been very good this year

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Trail Runs in Colorado

Happy Thanksgiving (to my US readers) I am excited to spend the day giving thanks, doing a Turkey Trot with my entire family, watching movies and easting lots of great food. It will be a day of relaxing and finding peace. Luckily my contribution of pies will be baked this evening so I can mostly relax tomorrow.
I haven’t made tome to share much lately to I thought I would bomb you with some trail porn. Given my upcoming trail ultra marathon I have been spending my weekends climbing and descending. So here are some great local trails if live or ever visit Colorado.

Golden Gate Park: Lots of great trails that can keep you running for 30+ miles.

Centennial Cone: There is a 12 mile loop with approximately 3 mile spur to a lower parking lot, add that on as an out and back and you have a great 18 mile run.

Lory State Park: miles and miles of trails can be strung together here, we planned out a 20 mile course but you could run shorter or longer easily. This trail has been my favorite so far in Colorado. Tons of climbing but the trail is interesting and the views are incredible. This one was furthest from home but I will definitely be back!

So that's what my weekends have looked like, what have you been up to? Any big plans for the holiday weekend?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Athlete Wish List - Swim!

Hard to believe that it's almost Thanksgiving and given this years' late date it means even less time to shop for holiday gifts. I thought I would share some holiday wish lists for the athletes in your life, or to possibly add to your own list. I'm starting with swim goodies but will move onto biking, running and other fun items. 
Swim Wish List

1. A Swim Buoy to work on arm strength and rest your tired legs

2. Splish has fun suits to keep you smiling when swimming lap after lap while it's cold and dark outside

3. Zoot Prophet is my fantasy swim gift if you are looking to spend big bucks

4. Keep things interesting with this waterproof mp3 player

5. Many people swear by chlorine removing hair products but I find they dry out my hair and skin even more, I really like this product from Philosophy. It comes in fun scents and is a shampoo and body wash in one so it saves space in my swim bag.  

What's on your wish list? 

Friday, November 1, 2013

In November

Happy November everyone! After my month of debauchery and unplanned fun it's time to get back at it and it seems important to set some month goals to help me stay focused. November Goals.jpg

1. Follow training plan and train at least 65 hours this month.

With big races coming up it's time to refocus.

2. Hit the trails at least once a week twice would be better.


With my first ultra marathon coming up in three months with 8,400 ft of climbing (more than Ironman Lake Tahoe bike course)


3. Clean eating 6 days a week (must have cheat day)

4. Take time to be thankful for the big and little things

What will your November goals look like?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

150 Days until Ironman Los Cabos

I couldn't believe it when I saw on twitter that Ironman Los Cabos is only 150 days away! Cory seems to think this it’s a lot of time but it seems dangerously short to me!

I have just started back to training after taking a month to do whatever I want after Lake Tahoe and it’s been great. I feel ready to get back at it but getting back into the routine of getting up at 4 am and getting out of work by 4 pm to get my second workout in has been a challenge. I have been trying to ease back in but next week needs to be 100%  even with the time change and no light.

A big learning curve will be training in the winter this year. I have trained over the winter but never for such a big early season race. I see it as a fun challenge but I am hoping for a lot of sunny days that I can get out on the road on my bike.

So for the next 150 days I will be dreaming of margaritas, guacamole and swimbikerunning!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

So What's Next?

After finishing Tahoe I gave myself a full week off to do nothing but enjoy life, let my body heal and not think about training one little bit.

2013-09-24 12.50.20.jpg

I felt great, I had a lot of extra time that I mostly spent relaxing, with a little holiday decorating, baking and working thrown in. THe second week after Tahoe I worked out a little but just what I wanted to do, weight training here, trail running there but not on any schedule. WHile I enjoyed the break I am starting to crave a schedule again, I take this as a good sign that I am doing a good job at the mental side of recovery. I will take one more week of working out when I want to but try to get in a little more so it won't be too big of a shock. Then I will get back to work, because I have three big A races that I am already registered for next year.

So here's what's next….

First up will be my first crack at an ultra distance trail race. Cory and I signed up for Orcas Island 50k in Washington on February 1st. I am so excited to spend more time on the trails this winter with Cory.IMG_0012.jpg

Next up will be Ironman Los Cabos in Mexico, I was lucky enough to spectate last year and when I got 20% off for participating in Ironman Lake Tahoe the deal was sealed. On March 30th I will be toeing the line myself.

Ironman Los Cabos.JPG

Lastly I will participate in Ironman Canada in Whistler on July 27th. After seeing all the photos and reports from this year I am excited for my turn to participate in this race.

Ironman Canada Mountains.jpeg

After that I think I would like to do more trail running, maybe even a 50 miler, but I will wait until after Orcas to see how I like the distance.

So there it is, any big plans for 2014?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lake Tahoe Reflections

Now that the race report is done, it's time for a little reflection on my race at Ironman Lake Tahoe. 2013-09-19 08.57.45.jpg

I am very proud of myself for finishing a race that was very difficult for me. I am not as happy that quoting seemed like such a viable option for so long on the bike. There are always dark places in an Ironman race (or so I am told) it's unfortunate that my dark place lasted 6 hours during this particular race. I hope that no one takes my report or my personal experience as a negative reflection on this race. Ironman Lake Tahoe is a beautiful venue, it was well run, and I consider myself lucky to have gotten to be involved in the inaugural race. On the other hand this race should not be under estimated, if you want to complete an Ironman and want a challenge this is your race.

In case anyone is considering racing this in the future here is what worked well for me and few things I would do differently if I could.

Things I would do differently in the future:
  • Work more on my climbing and descending skills, the bike course is very challenging, and at altitude. It would have been ideal to go out and train on the course. I am a fairly new cyclist and I worked hard this summer but I think I could have used more time. Also I would put more time into strength training to make sure my legs had plenty of strength to get up and over the long climbs.
  • Really have my nutrition down before the race. I can't really put my finger on the reason I felt so sick for so long on the bike. I was fine until the first set of climbs then my stomach went into revolt, my mood plummeted and I had a hard time eating anything. Soon after I stopped eating as much my energy started to sag, not surprisingly.
  • Take more electrolytes. I was craving salt really badly at the beginning of the run which makes me think I was neglecting my salt on the bike. It was easy to forget about my salts when it was so cold.
  • Get my metal game together before the race. I was pretty thrown by the cold and terrible weather the day before and I think it shook my confidence at little.
Things that worked for me:
  • My swim training, I felt great on the swim, I sighted well and even was able to draft a little. I decided to wear two swim caps but not a neoprene cap or booties. I was happy and warm enough on the swim.
  • When heading to Tahoe I packed every piece of cold weather gear I own and I wore all of it on the bike, I was still cold but I am not sure what else I could have put on.
  • Switching to a compact cranks
  • Full change in T1 and T2, I can't imagine being wet on the bike or the run.
  • Warm clothes on the run instead of a tri kit
  • Having great support on the course from my family
  • Deciding to never give up. I thought about quoting but I decided that as long as I was physically able I would keep moving forward and eventually I made it to the finish.
Even though my race was more of a challenge for me than I would have liked I still love Ironman, love that I took on this challenging race and look forward to doing it again in the future.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ironman Lake Tahoe Race Report – The Run

Ironman Lake Tahoe Race Report – The Run
In case you missed it you can read about Race Prep here the Swim here and the Bike here.

Once I got off the bike I was greeted with very helpful encouraging volunteers. I was very shaky and could barely walk at first, luckily I had support from a very bossy volunteer that rushed me thought T2 like the tent was on fire, she didn’t give me time to consider what I was about to go attempt to do. She helped me get out of all my gear and get back into run clothes. I couldn’t think about what I might want to wear on the run so I just ended up putting everything on, this ended up being another thing that turned out well for me. It feels a bit like there were a lot of happy accidents that helped get me out running the marathon before I had time to think about what I was doing.

I was still feeling pretty horrible and run down the first mile. I hadn’t had a chance to grab anything to eat in transition while being rushed so I was still bonking pretty badly. I told myself to just jog to the first aid station and figure it out from there. My legs started to loosen up a little I couldn’t be believe how tight they were from being so cold and riding for so long (that is the longest I have EVER been on my bike!). I made it to the first aid station and grabbed chicken broth, coke and a cup of chips. They all tasted SO good, I was obviously craving salt and very calorie deficient. After eating everything I started to feel a little better and was motivated to run to the next station, so I could eat more. I did the same thing at the next aid station. And started to feel like I was getting a little full so even though I wanted to keep eating a bunch I figured I would have different issues if I didn’t slow down my consumption. At this point a couple miles in and some food in my stomach I was feeling ok again. At that point I knew that if nothing else went wrong I could finish the race. I also started talking to people again, thanking volunteers and staying in the moment and enjoying the experience of doing an ironman.
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Cory was great support on the run, he brought his bike and leap frogged me often to check in on me and see if I needed anything. He also had a few items in his backpack in case I needed them on the run (gloves, ear covers, gels, head lamp, etc) you aren’t supposed to get outside support during the race but they made it very clear to us that we weren’t getting our special needs bag back and I didn’t want to lose gear that I like. So I broke the rules a bit, sorry Ironman, hope I don’t have to give my shirt back! (lots of people were getting warm gear from family and friends at this race and the officials didn’t say anything, I think they were more worried about people going hypothermic)

The course is pretty scenic for the first few miles as you make your way from Squaw Valley to HW 89 and there is a lot of spectator support so that was nice. I knew I had dug myself a hole on the bike so I was conservative and methodical about the run. I walked every aid station and any hill that was “steep” I made sure to run all downhills, flats and shallow up hills. By the third mile I had settled in for the long-haul. It was nice to see Cory periodically so I could look forward to seeing him and that really broke up the run.
IMLT Run.png
The run is made up of two out and backs with the first significantly longer than the second you run about 17 miles in the first loop and 9 in the second . The most scenic part of the run was the portion that you run on the Truckee River Bike Trail right next to the Truckee River. It was beautiful in this section but also very hard for spectators to get to, so it was pretty quite along there. I did get to see a lot of friends due to the out and backs so it was fun to see how great they were doing and cheer them on a bit.

When I got to the first turn around it was starting to get dark, they had been handing out headlights but had ran out so some runners were out in the complete dark. Cory was able to get down to the trail fairly close after the turn around so I was able to pick up my head lamp, ear warmers and gloves from him. I was still feeling pretty good but the temperatures were starting to drop and I was getting cold again. As I started to get colder my stomach started to feel off again. I tried hard to take in coke and broth every station but that was a challenge, I did take one gel during the race because I wanted the caffeine, I should have taken more.
2013-09-22 18.41.02.jpg
The volunteers were handing out mylar blankets to runners and people were wearing them as capes and even wrapped around their legs. I was warm enough to go without but I felt so bad for the runners who looked miserable and cold. The volunteers were great, making sure people were ok and handing out steaming cups of chicken broth. It was scary to see people laid out on stretchers being taken off the course because of hypothermia. Around this time I passed a friend of mine who was just wearing a tri-kit she was shivering and looked miserable. I knew Cory had another jacket of mine and some hand warmers so I told her to keep an eye out for him and I would send him back for her. It made me feel good that we might be able to help a little and not just leave her miserable. The rest of loop one trudged on, it was dark so I couldn’t enjoy the view anymore but I did talk a lot to other athletes and everyone was very encouraging. As I got back into the village at Squaw Valley I spotted my parents in the crowd, I knew they had been worried about me so I took a minute to give them hugs and let them know I was alright and would see them at the finish line.

It was a little painful to have to run right by the finish line but turn the other way and head back out into the darkness. I was feeling good that the long loop was done and I knew what I had to do. I stuck to my walk/run plan although my definition of “steep” hill was a little looser at this point. By the time I was heading back for the last time I knew that I was going to make it and was ready to be done, it was getting colder and a mist was coming off the lake that hurt my lungs at every breath. Ironman projected a giant M-dot shaped light on the mountain, I could see it from a couple miles out, it was a great reminder that I just needed to get it done.

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Running into the village the last time I started to get the elated, happy, energized feeling, I knew I was almost there and I couldn’t believe I had stuck with it all day. I saw Mike Riley even gave him a high five but just like at Coeur d'Alene I couldn't hear him call me an ironman. Guess I will just have to keep doing these things until I actually hear it! There really is nothing else in the world like the finish line of an Ironman.

This post is already really long so I will save post race and reflections for later. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ironman Lake Tahoe Race Report - The Bike

In case you missed it you can read about Race Prep here and the Swim here.

This is the part of the report I wish I could skip, the bike ended up being a little bit of a dark place for me, but I will keep it real that Ironman isn't always 100% sunshine and roses.

I was feeling great leaving the swim, I had a great time for me but more importably I felt great and really enjoyed myself. As I made my way out of the water, up the sand and into T1 I was getting really cold and it was really painful to run on my freezing feet. Kind, amazing, wonderful volunteers helped me get my bag and out of my wetsuit. As I made my way into T1 I ran into a wall of bodies. The tent was FULL of bodies there was NO room, people were making full changes in the doorways and doing whatever the could to find room. I was planning on making a full change so that I could have dry clothes on the bike so I was hoping for a little volunteer help. Ladies you know how hard it can be to get a sports bra on when you are damp, couple that with barley working freezing hands and it is near impossible. I think there was a few issues with transition, partially it was just not a big enough space and partially people were taking longer to warm up so there were just more of us in there at one time. I finally found about a square foot to change (no volunteer, no chair) I got myself as dry as possible changed with the help of a fellow athlete who needed help as well. I got all my layers on, stuffed everything in my bag hoping I didn't forget anything and moved to the exit trying really hard to not step on anyone. I waved at my family, tried to make sure everything was sitting right and took off. IMG_1279.JPG

I started out feeling happy but my legs felt stiff and slow. I hoped that I would warm up and start to feel more normal as we went. Unfortunately the course starts with a long, gradual downhill that wasn't helping me warm up. I was chatting with other athletes and trying to settle in.


I felt pretty good through Truckee, saw Cory let him know I was feeling pretty good.2013-09-22 11.26.09.jpg

Then things started to get a little shaky. I started to feel a little nauseous on the first climb, that got worse on the second big climb. The one cool part of that loop was getting lapped by the pros on a climb it was awesome to see how great they were doing. I wasn't feeling well and couldn't stomach eating anything so I pushed on hoping that some downhill would help me feel better. I wasn't eating so I was getting a little bonky and slowing down. I was feeling pretty negative and stopped talking to people as much. There was a point that I felt like I was just done, I didn't want to ride my bike anymore. On the second loop I told myself all I had to do was get to Cory then I could quit and not have to do the two big climbs again. I wasn't able to eat anything so I thought my day was done. I got to Cory outside of Truckee pulled over and told him I thought I was done and couldn't eat. He felt horrible for me but was supportive. He made the one comment that kept me going, he said "if you haven't been eating there is no way you will be able to run a marathon". It hit me then that I felt like I COULD run a marathon, I wasn't broken physically, who quits 80 miles into an ironman bike, Not me I thought. I knew I might get pulled from the course but I wouldn't quit as long as I could keep moving. So I told Cory I would do my best to get back up over the big hills and just see how it went, I wasn't happy about it, I was hurting, but I was going to try.


After leaving Cory I did my best to put my head down and keep climbing. I got to the top of Brockway summit and thought I could make it back to Squaw Valley but I would have to push it. I did my best to focus push the last 20 miles. I had never really warmed up and it was starting to cool down again, especially in the valley.

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I made it to T2, a little shocked that I had gotten there. I can't really explain what went so wrong on the bike, I had trained for the hills and at elevation so I can only imagine that the cold had something to do with it. But I can't explain why I got so sick and stayed sick from 30 miles into the ride on. Something to figure out for the future.

Up next the Run - promise it gets better!